I have been a Christian for over 40 years of my adult life and as long as I have been a Christian I have been taught that the Bible says there will be a Great Tribulation. There is no disputing that fact. However, I have also been taught (and have taught) that there will be a rapture of God's people (either before the tribulation or during the middle of it) wherein God will save His children from the evil that is to take place. That we will simply disappear from this earth and be taken up into Heaven to be with Him, to reign a thousand years, and then be with Him forever in the New Jerusalem. Are the rapture and the Second Coming two separate happenings?
Is it possible there is no pre/mid tribulation rapture? The pre/mid tribulation rapture theory is not supported by scripture that I can find. Has man taken what God has said and twisted it?
Webster's dictionary describes the meaning of rapture as:
an expression or manifestation of ecstasy or passion
a state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotion b : a mystical experience in which the spirit is exalted to a knowledge of divine things
often capitalized : the final assumption of Christians into heaven during the end-time according to Christian theology.
The last few months it has been weighing upon my mind as to when the rapture would take place. It started out as my questioning whether the rapture would be pre, mid, or post tribulation. It came to my attention that if the rapture were indeed post tribulation then it would mean that we would have to suffer through the Great Tribulation. Thus my studies of the rapture according to the Bible began.
Why is a pre/mid tribulation rapture not specifically mentioned in the Bible? If a rapture of either sort were going to happen, don't you think Jesus would have told us? When Jesus talks to His disciples about what will happen at His coming at the end of the age (end times), no pre/mid tribulation rapture to save His followers from the Great Tribulation is mentioned. Jesus speaks about “the end times” and what will happen prior to His return.
In Matthew 24:29-31 Jesus tells His disciples what will happen when He comes back, commonly referred to as The Second Coming.
"Matthew 24:29-31, But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (See Rev 6:12-17) And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. ( See Rev 1:7) And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other." (New American Standard Bible)
The event in Matthew 24:31 is often referred to as the rapture. However, note that according to Jesus this takes place immediately after The Great Tribulation (v. 29). According to the pre/mid tribulation rapture theory, the rapture takes place in secret, either before or in the middle of The Great Tribulation. Seeing Jesus come in the clouds is not mentioned in any part of a pre/mid tribulation rapture that I'm aware of.
Other verses that are often taken out of context to support the pre/mid tribulation rapture theory are:
1 Thessalonians 4:17, Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (New American Standard Bible) In this passage of scripture, Paul is comforting those who have lost loved ones, while at the same time comforting Christians with a reminder of the promise of eternal life. Paul says right before this in verse 16, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (New American Standard Bible). This is the same thing that Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 24:30-31. However, again, this verse is often taken out of context and is used as a basis for the pre/mid tribulation theory.
In 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52 Paul says that we will not all sleep (die). “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (New American Standard Bible) Again, here Paul is telling Christians that Jesus will return and save His people from the evil in this world, which is satan. However, as you can see, he once again references that this will happen when the last trumpet sounds and Jesus appears in the clouds with all His glory, not prior to.
When I read the above scriptures I can't help but wonder if what I've been taught all these years has been right or wrong. I'm leaning towards the teaching being wrong. I pray you will take the time to study the Bible and come to your own conclusion.